Today is July the first, and you know what that means right? It’s the first day of the 2nd half of the year! And boy, how time flies! gasp
If this was a football match, I’d say we’ve already been in this game for 45 minutes so far, and its now Half-time.
Unlike actual football matches though , there is no break between the first and the second half of the calendar year but we still do measure and/or think about our progress or lack thereof around this time of the year.
Often these evaluations are characterized by us pulling out our list of resolutions if we made one, or just looking around our life to see if we are anywhere near where we had set out to be on January 1st. And if we are not, then discouragement begins to set in.
I’ve been feeling a tinge of this myself lately as ‘half-time’ approached and I looked at some of the things I’ve set out to do this year which are still pending. I’m not totally panicked because I know there’s still six months left in the year and a lot can be accomplished within that time, but there remains that nagging feeling when a goal is unmet, a vision is yet to be fulfilled or a dream has yet to come true (in the time-frame you’d envisioned it would). I’m sure you know what I mean. The ‘mountain high’ of enthusiasm and excitement on New year’s day does begin to wane as the practical reality of making things happen unfolds. Along the way, we suffer some disappointments, concede a few goals and the dream slowly begins to fade, leaving us second guessing our pursuit of it in the first place.
As bleak as things may seem, do hang in there though! Its only HALF-TIME!
And this July presents us an opportunity to re-visit our efforts, re-fine our thinking and strategies and go back into the game refreshed and energized for the tasks that lie ahead.
Being an ardent soccer fan and watching the FIFA World cup lately, here’s a few things I’ve observed and/or learned about ‘Half time’ that have changed my perspective and pulled me out of the miry clay of panic and discouragement :
- Players retreat to the dressing room to rest. Sometimes a change in environment is just what we need to get those creative juices flowing again. Away from the public eye and all that’s familiar to rest from our physical and mental labors. When the year starts, we thrust ourselves into our goals and plans at full throttle and its easy to run out of steam early if we don’t pace ourselves. But when this does happen, ‘retreating to the dressing room’ to rest is a good idea. If you can’t take leave from work, make use of weekends and holidays to rest your body, and also to put yourself in a different environment. Take care of your body and it and it will serve you well. Sleep, fresh air and new sights have been proven to do wonders to one’s state of well-being, so do make rest a priority.
- Players drink lots of fluids and/or energy drinks. During this ‘half time’, if you’re running on ‘E,’ do take the time to deliberately replenish your reserves. These could be mental, emotional or even spiritual reserves that have gotten depleted over time and left you burnt out. Invest in a good book on a subject you want to grow in, buy some new music, learn a new skill, attend a conference or seminar etc. Just do something that pours new life and fresh ideas into you. Invest in yourself, and Remember, you can’t give out what you don’t have, so it has to be in you first before it can ever come out of you.
- Players receive a Pep-talk from the coach. At half time, the coach also weighs in on the game, stating to the team what worked and what didn’t and how they can improve going forward. In your case, who is speaking into your life? Who is in your corner offering guidance and rooting for you? It’s always important to have someone or people who genuinely care about you and the dream you are pursuing to give both encouragement and constructive criticism. We need both of these to grow and succeed and should be ready to receive them with grace if we really want to win in this game. Be careful with whom you allow to speak into your life, though. Some people will kill your destiny with ‘friendly advice.’
- Players swap sides and other changes are made. After the pep-talk and discussing what worked and what didn’t, a new strategy is agreed upon and changes are made to support that new decision. Sometimes its substituting players, while at other times it is a change in formation and so on. If you discover that a particular course of action is not working or giving the desired results, then it may be time to change your strategy. They say doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results is called insanity. So for the sake of getting the result you’ve never had, be prepared to do what you’ve never done. Don’t be afraid to make the changes that could ultimately bring you to your desired outcome. Change is good.
- Players begin the 2nd half with renewed vigor and enthusiasm, when they realize that ‘It’s not over.’ Like a game of football we can say that life is also played over two halves, and until you hear the Final whistle blowing, you’re still in the game. You may have suffered a battering in the first half and it looks like there’s no chance for a comeback, but while breath remains, so does hope. Don’t give up on your dreams because this or that obstacle has gotten in the way or there’s been a delay. Life is a marathon and not a sprint so you ought to pace yourself even while you do your part. Leave the rest to God and trust Him to do His part. Remember that He is concerned about what the course of your entire life looks like, and not just one Calendar year. Look at the ‘Bigger picture.’ Rather than worrying that your ‘ultimate goal’ isn’t happening right now, focus on the small baby steps you need to take daily that will bring you closer and closer to your desired end. Being faithful even in taking those small, mundane steps which will ultimately culminate into the big success you dream about. So remain focused and keep the flame burning.
It’s not over!